99 for 99 - #14 - The End of the Gill Era, Quinn Hired

Eric Francis

99 for 99 takes a look at the 99 biggest moments in UB Football history during this season, the 99th season of UB Football. These moments are not in any order, however the top 10 moments have been saved for last.

December 12, 2009 - Turner Gill is Hired as Coach of the Kansas Jayhawks

After an 18-20 record in his final 3 seasons, the day UB fans dreaded finally arrived. Turner Gill moved to an AQ conference, landing with the Kansas Jayhawks. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated gave the hire an A:

Kansas (Turner Gill, Buffalo head coach): A

The former Nebraska star returns to the Big 12, where he will now go head-to-head with the Huskers. What Gill pulled off at Buffalo -- taking over the worst program in Division I-A, bar none, and leading it to a MAC title three years later -- is one of the most remarkable accomplishments of the past decade. And his ties to the Heartland should help elevate Kansas' recruiting profile.

Kansas responded with instantly creating fireturnergill.com

Gill took a team that finished 0-7 the previous season, to a 2-2 start including an upset win over #15 Georgia Tech. Turner's Jayhawks went 3-17 after that, and Turner was fired after only 2 seasons amidst a sea of negativity. While Turner was completely at fault for ruining the momentum from Kansas' BCS run (ignoring the 7 game losing streak he inherited from Mangino) the 1-11 season from Charlie Weis is absolved from blame, what could he do with the bare cupboard Turner Gill left at Kansas.

Turner Gill has since moved on to Liberty, a team with FBS aspirations. He went 6-5 in his first season.

Finally for Buffalo, the aftermath of the Turner Gill era has been far reaching. First and foremost, it resulted in the loss of our "franchise" Quarterback, Zach Maynard. Maynard was good enough to start in the PAC 12, it's hard to think about how much damage he could have done in the MAC (13). Instead UB has floundered with 3 different opening day starters, and 4 different QB's starting in the 36 games since Gill left.

UB won 19 FBS games under Gill, and only 6 since. Gill left Buffalo a hero, but his stint at Kansas has tainted his glory for some Buffalo fans. Who gets more credit, Gill or Hofher for UB's MAC Championship? Gill was 9-12 in one-possession games. 42% of his games were one possession and he lost more than he won. Was he just lucky in the end?

9 days later, Jeff Quinn was hired. He would coach the Bearcats in a BCS Bowl and then come to Buffalo. The slogan changed from UBelieve to Next Bull In. The jersey's were the next to change. But most importantly, the entitled complaints about a ho-hum 5 win season would fade into hopes that you don't lose to Akron. Midnight struck on December 21st 2009.

Epilogue:

I wrote a scathing angry hate letter to Kansas fans, but being a victim of subpar football myself, I know I shouldn't throw stones at Rock Chalk Talk. I walked away and toned it down a lot. If I still offended anyone, I apologize in advance.

I liked Turner at Buffalo, and once he left, I understood why Nebraskan's checked up on him so often at Buffalo. People want him to succeed, he is just a good guy that you root for. So I too followed him at Kansas, watching a few KU games, reading the local print media and following the fellas at Rock Chalk Talk.

I was initially annoyed by the Turner Gill can't handle the BIG TIME Football and the BIG TIME Kansas media. Lawrence is the 6th biggest city in Kansas. There is nothing big time about Kansas except their Basketball.

Kansas discounted Gill's accomplishments in the MAC, which to me, showed their general football ignorance, but Gill followed a legend. Mangino a legend? Well he did take Kansas, to a Orange Bowl victory, all things considered, that was legendary.

Then it became apparent that anything he did would be a negative, and I learned to hate the University of Kansas, even I give Quinn credit sometimes...(I still think he is a semi-brilliant play-caller, he just lacks timing and game-awareness, I am also (Spoiler Alert) compiling up all the errors he made this year and writing a Jeff Quinn goat of the year article, so I don't know).

I really hated Kansas for their delusions of grandeur. The source of Kansas' power, 1 BCS Bowl Game appearance. deluded to think they were elite because they had one BCS Bowl Bid. With that bid in 2008, they joined the exclusive list of BCS Bowl Game attendees that includes: UCLA, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Washington, Purdue, Oregon State, West Virginia, Louisville, Utah, Iowa, Tennessee, TCU, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Clemson, Colorado, UConn, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Washington State and of course Northern Illinois.

All said and done, 48 teams, nearly 39% of all FBS teams, have been to a BCS Bowl Game. I contend that playing in a BCS game does not make you elite, it just means you won your conference once in the last decade.

Except if you're Kansas, a School that has not won the Big 12 since it was the Big Eight (1968 co-champs, 1930 last time KU was outright champs), then it means you won your division and the Conference Champion went to the BCS Championship game.

Except if you're Kansas, a School that lost the de facto division championship game against Missouri. Missouri lost the Big 12 Championship game to Oklahoma, and because the BCS is an unjust system that really shouldn't be the measure by which you deem your success, The Orange Bowl chose Kansas over Missouri.

In real life, Kansas is a Basketball School, probably the only school sad that the Big 12 did not die and they did not get swallowed up by the Big East. The KU Football facilities are sub-par, they have a track around their field, and you know how much I hate that, and I'll go out on a limb and say they'll never go to a BCS game ever again.

With a coach like Turner Gill they had a chance to develop something good. Yet some of the fans couldn't see that over their "Harbaugh" or bust mentality. Yes, they expected Harbaugh to spurn lovely Palo Alto, his Alma Mater in Ann Arbor, and the NFL for Lawerence, Kansas. Turner Gill you never had a chance. I am incredibly happy that they have the biggest smoke and mirrors show in College Football, the living Schematic Advantage Joke, Charlie Weis as their head coach. Weis is no stranger to profiting from the short leash afforded to black head coaches in College Football, (see Willingham, Ty) and the KU fans seem content with blaming KU's current woes on Gill while hoping for a better future with Weis, although I give KU credit, there is a firecharlieweis.com.

Kansas tore down the great American Story of Turner Gill in order to maintain the shine on an Ill-gotten, already forgotten Orange Bowl Trophy. My only hope now is that one day Gill returns to FBS and puts together a good team and restores the narrative of hope and belief. But Kansas, I hope they never recover.

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